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Indus Pride falls flat, to shift from mass to class

SAB Miller to change positioning of four-year-old brand

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India, which had launched specifically for the during late 2008, is set to phase it out and will look at a premium segment offering. The beer will be laced and brewed with authentic India spices.

SAB Miller, which has a little over 24 per cent market share in the Indian beer market which is dominated by the UB Group-owned Kingfisher, had come up with Indus Pride in an effort to shore up its presence in the mainstream segment. Nearly four years after selling a total of 400,000 cases mainly in Rajasthan and Karnataka, the company has decided on a new brand positioning. Indus Pride is made with 100 per cent barley malt, in contrast to its largest competitors in the category.

Derek Jones, Marketing Director, SABMiller India, says the move is in tune with research findings that the premium segment is growing by 43 per cent – a total of 67 million cases of premium beer were sold in the Indian market during last fiscal.

The new avatar of Indus Pride will be priced almost double the earlier offering and will be available in four variants – Citrusy Coriander, Citrusy Cardamom, Spicy Fennel and Fiery Cinnamon. Jones says “We see a huge opportunity in India as the beer consumption is on the rise with legal drinking age consumers more open to experimentation today”. The product will be first launched in Mumbai.

Indus Pride was launched with much fanfare by SABMiller during 2008 in the mainstream mild beer segment (with 5 per cent alcohol content) in an effort to take on Kingfisher. But it didn’t work, though SABMiller will continue to be in the mainstream segment with its brand and Royal Challenge beer.

The Indian beer market is dominated by the ‘strong’ beer segment, which accounts for as much as 80 per cent. Strong, Haywards, Knockout, are some of the key players in this segment.

SABMiller, which has invested as much as $800 million over the past decade has been trying to match strides with United Breweries, but during the last year slipped due to various issues in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. SABMiller earlier had a market share of close to 35 per cent, which has now slipped to 24 per cent. In addition to Indus Pride, Fosters, Royal Challenge, Haywards and Knockout, SABMiller has Miller High Life and Peroni Nastro Azzurro as part of its India offerings.

Recently, SABMiller’s top global management including Graham Mackay, CEO and Alan Clark, COO (Designate) were in India to review the operations and initiate various measures to strengthen their presence here. “We have a committed presence in India and are further strengthening this relationship as a long term opportunity,” Mackay says.

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